Hi. My name is Lori. And I'm a cookbook-aholic. I know the first step is admitting you have a problem. I LOVE cookbooks! I have 50+ cookbooks. That may seem excessive to some and not that much to others. The reason I don't have more is that I really resist in buying more as much as I can. I'm afraid to go into Half Price Books for fear of buying more. You know it actually never occurred to me to go there for cookbooks until just now as I was writing this. Oh crap! I may be in trouble now.
So do I use all of these cookbooks? Yes, some of them. Usually when I get a new cookbook, I thumb through it on a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon and put Post-it notes on all the recipes that I would like to try. Then when I am ready to make a menu for the week, I'll look at the marked pages to see if I want to make any of those recipes that week and then make out my shopping list.
Now just because I have all these cookbooks doesn't mean that we eat a different dish every night of the week. There are some recipes that are favorites or easy to fall back on when trying to decide what we want for dinner, especially if I haven't taken meat out of the freezer until the afternoon.
So what kinds of recipes do I like? I like simple recipes in that they don't require a lot of ingredients or ingredients that I wouldn't necessarily have on hand or can't find easy enough at the store. I don't like recipes that take a lot of preparation unless it's REALLY worth the trouble. One of my favorite cookbooks is by Sandra Lee, of the Semi-Homemade fame, called The Complete Cookbook. I like that her recipes cut corners where it doesn't affect the quality of a dish but still gets you to the end result faster. I mean, c'mon. Is it really necessary to spend all day making a marinara sauce when you can pop a jar on one, add your own stuff to it, just to dump it on chicken parmesan and spaghetti? Jarred spaghetti sauce is a great base for just about any good italian meal. I always add my own fresh onions and peppers, spices, etc. anyway.
I also like cookbooks that give you instructions and tutorials on cooking techniques. I've learned many of these along the way, but enjoy learning something new and finding out that it's really not that hard to begin with. One really good one is Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. It has great reference information and color photo techniques and tips pages. Anyone wanting to learn how to cook should have this cookbook. Another good one for those of us that are Southern cooks is Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible. Yes, I have a signed copy because I'm an addict. When I read through this book, I was one part disappointed and one part excited that I knew so many recipes and techniques that she discusses for Southern cooking. I thought I would learn more, but then I realized that I really am a good Southern cook, so I was excited that so much of it was familiar to me.
So now you know the truth about my addiction, or most of it anyway. I also have hundreds of recipes saved on my computer and subscribe to many cooking/recipe newsletters. But, that's a topic for a future post. In the meantime, I may need to make a run over to Half Price Books. ;-p